Operators Of Atlanta Stores Arraigned For WIC And Snap Fraud
ATLANTA - Rodney Byrd and Reginald Byrd have been arraigned on federal charges of unlawfully purchasing vouchers of the Georgia Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and debit cards of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“These defendants are charged with stealing money that was intended to be used to provide nutritious food to low-income mothers and children,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Our office will continue to pursue those individuals who seek to abuse government assistance programs for their own greed.”
“These defendants sought to benefit financially from their fraudulent activities” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Their actions also resulted in a loss to the government, but more importantly, they are charged with stealing from individuals who depend on the WIC program for assistance.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: Rodney Byrd owned and operated several Atlanta, Ga., metropolitan-area stores named “Tweet Baby Tweet,” “Chicos and Chicas Variety Store,” and “Tweets, Treats, and Nic Nacs.” Reginald Byrd managed at least one of these stores. The defendants directed employees of the stores to make cash payments to customers in return for the customers’ WIC vouchers and for the use of the customers’ SNAP debit cards, which is a violation of the terms of the WIC program and SNAP. The defendants caused employees to cash checks made out to the employees’ names and used the proceeds to purchase customers’ WIC vouchers and EBT cards.
Rodney Byrd, 39, of Lawrenceville, Ga., and Reginald Byrd, 38, of College Park, Ga., were arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Janet F. King. Both defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on November 24, 2014.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Thomas J. Krepp is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.